Intro to Landscape Studies
The modern age of landscape is an age where social interactions, markets, and developments are routinely channeled by institutions invisible to the ordinary individual. State infrastructure and capital have made immense and irreversible the effects of building, in the form of corridors, monuments and waste, channeling everyday paths and interactions in new space. In the era of modern building, the secrets of landscape are constantly hidden in plain sight.
To learn to see the landscape, western writers first had to learn to describe it. Unlike studies of rhetoric, which stretch back through the classical tradition, structural studies of the phenomenology, politics, and psychology of landscape only matured in the nineteenth century, in the era when state intervention began to physically reshape the shape of trade, agriculture, and the city at an unprecedented scale. Psychologists like Georg Simmel and cultural critics like Walter Benjamin imported the science of rhetoric and the close attention to perception, analyzing the everyday spaces around them, and so developed a new science of landscape. This tradition ultimately informed diverse disciplines that took up landscape in the 1940s through 70s, including historical geography, military intelligence, American Studies, environmental psychology, and urban planning.
This short film introduces two experiments in the culture of academic publication, both of which deploy digital technologies like screencasting and wikis to help informally share work pursued by landscape scholars in different fields. The Landscape Studies Podcast
shares talks given at academic conferences, while the Landsploitation
Podcast shares experimental work in photography and film.